Former Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans is now back and available to play football having been released from prison after his conviction of rape.
However, opinion is most certainly divided as to whether he should resume his footballing career now he has served his time. Even Sheffield United supporters are split on the issue.
Both sides of the story have legitimate claims to their argument. Those who are against his return to football point to the fact that he will be returning to a highly paid, highly rewarding job whilst the victim and her family may well suffer for the rest of their lives.
Although he has spent time in prison, he will be returning to a job he loves and will no doubt be adored by many once he starts scoring goals again. Children may have his name on their replica shirts and supporters will chant his name from the terraces. This must surely be wrong?
If Evans was a teacher, a policeman or in fact worked in any other job, he would not be allowed to return. So why is football so different?
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Has football lost all sense of its morals that it will allow Evans to return? It seems that that may be the case. Football, and the club who decides to employ Evans, will lose a lot of credibility and not just in footballing circles. However, if Evans scores a winning goal that seals a cup victory or promotion it may be that the victims in all of this could be forgotten entirely. Unfortunately football is governed by money and is big business. Evans could be an excellent signing.
Others will point to the fact that Evans deserves a second chance after serving his sentence. He deserves the chance to resume his life so that he can try and make amends for what he has been convicted of. He is still only very young and could have a long career ahead of him, if allowed to do so.
Evans still professes his innocence but he has been convicted by a court of law so that decision must be respected until an appeal proves otherwise.
Sheffield United are in a huge predicament themselves. It has been revealed that Evans is training with his former club and it could be tempting for United to re-sign their striker especially as they are alarmingly short of goal-scorers as they aim for promotion back to The Championship. However, this is a very sensitive issue for the club and even their own fans are split on whether it is the right thing to do.
Evans is not alone in the footballing world for having committed a crime, but rape is an entirely different thing and a crime that is one of the most abhorrent.
There is no doubt that a fully fit Ched Evans will offer a great deal to any club but he now comes with a lot of baggage and baggage that most clubs will be unwilling to carry. The next few weeks could see Evans return to football and there will be no doubt that if he does he will be under the microscope like never before. He will be criticised from all angles and he must be ready for one of the greatest challenges in his career so far.
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